How to use a Menu Plan for a stress-free week.

How to use a Menu Plan for a stress-free week.

I never thought I would be the type of person to organise a weekly menu let alone stick to it. However, I’ve found that over the last year, a weekly menu has added to my goal of an efficient and stress-free lifestyle.

In this post I will share with you why I use a weekly menu, how it has helped and ways you can integrate a menu in your life to navigate around daily demands.

I also share a downloadable PDF for you to kick-start your menu making!

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For years, I have watched videos on meal-preparation and how it has helped other people. Being so comfortable with eating out and “eating how I feel”, it wasn’t something I was keen to implement.

Two years ago, my boyfriend Luke, landed a full-time job and one year ago, I started studying full-time. Very quickly, I found it exhausting coming home everyday, trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, knowing I had x amount of time to study afterwards. I would either: throw random things together, buy extra items or go out to eat for convenience. This happened for at least 3 or so months. Maybe longer.

Eventually, I gave in. 

I thought that there had to be an easier way to organise grocery shopping and meals.

It was time for change!

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1. List all your favourite breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner meals.

This helps you flesh out what ingredients, staples and specialty items you will need as you build your menu.

If you live with your partner, a roommate or have children, get them involved in this process too! This simple activity is great for communication and bonding. Ask them what food they like and brainstorm meal ideas. This also ensures less food wastage! What’s not to like?

2. Write out a 7 day plan.

List each day of the week. Now, figure out what day will be grocery day. It should be a day or night you can easily commit to. Another factor to keep in mind, is pay-day. For me, it’s easier to shop on Tuesdays since that’s when I get paid. Make it work for you.

3. Write all ingredients/staples needed.

By now, there would be ingredients that may overlap or repeat. Use that as a staples list! For me, I realised rice, oats, fruits, eggs and pasta sauce were staple items, so I plan the menu around them. Knowing what items are your staples, makes it easier to organise a stress-free week of meals!

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1. Trial and error.

It took me and my boyfriend at least a month, if not two months to work out the kinks of a weekly menu. We realised what ingredients worked, how long they lasted and what we could conveniently cook each night or cook ahead of time to make things easier.

2. Communication

What I found with starting a menu, is that instead of having too many items and no meals to eat, we had just enough food which highly decreased wastage. In order to maintain this, communication was key! If we were low on cheese for sandwiches or laundry detergent, we would make sure to communicate this.

3. Utilise a list!

Besides just telling my boyfriend we were running low on something, I’d make it a priority to write it on a shopping list. Luke always has a notepad on the cabinet bench for easy access. I love using lists for day-to-day organisation!

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Seasonal changes.

As seasons change, your menu will change also. During summer, weekly menus at my house are kept simple. Lots of cooler meals including salad and iced smoothies. Bread is kept in the fridge to keep from getting mouldy in humidity. During winter, or colder weeks, I plan soups and meals that can be served piping hot for comfort and enjoyability.
Keep this in mind throughout the seasons.

Be mindful of your budget.

Budgets are a huge factor in maintaining a menu. I’ve found in previous years, shopping in bulk at Costco or sales at supermarkets is the way to go. If it is a protein, I freeze the rest to use later. Even things like toilet paper can be purchased bulk to save some coins in the long run. Alternative brands are also something to look into. These days, quality doesn’t always come from a well-known brand. Branch out a little, test new things. You might be surprised at how much you save!

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Here is a downloadable Weekly Menu Plan. I’ve also included my own menu as an example.

 

Let me know in the comments if these tips were helpful for you! 

Welcome back to my regular readers and thank you for joining me if you are new! This blog is about mental-health wellness as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, food, decluttering and travel adventures.
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

It is possible to create change and manifest positivity in your life! x

20 Facts About Me

20 Facts About Me

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In today’s post, I want to get a little bit more personal with you all, so here is a random list of 20 facts about me. Here goes!

  1. My last name, Villanueva, apparently means “new house” or “new town”.
  2. I love watching transformation videos of interior design.
  3. Nicki Minaj is an inspiration to me.
  4. I talk to myself whenever I execute a plan.
  5. I have three tattoos. One on each forearm and one on my back ribcage.
  6. Reading books is a way for me to ‘escape’ reality.
  7. My go-to drink is a pineapple and Malibu. It used to be a ‘vodka sunrise’.
  8. I used vintage wine in cooking only thinking about the flavour in the food, not the fact it was a vintage wine… oops!
  9. Cooking is a huge creative outlet that I enjoy a lot.
  10. My brother and I created a lip-sync video when we were young. Embarrassing!
  11. When I get sick, I drink as many lemon-honey teas as I can handle.
  12. I used to be religious.
  13. I have three brothers and one sister.
  14. Vegetables I am not a fan of are mushrooms and capsicum.
  15. I’ve come to enjoy walks around my new neighbourhood.
  16. I have a fear of heights.
  17. I taught myself to use Photoshop back in high school.
  18. Although I enjoy singing, I don’t do it as often anymore.
  19. I’m short.
  20. I’m one of those women that can eat anything I want and barely put on weight. Perks of having the slim gene.

Introduce yourselves below in the comment section and include an interesting fact or two about you!

I look forward to meeting you.

Welcome back to my regular readers and thank you for joining me if you are new! This blog is about mental-health wellness as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, food, decluttering and travel adventures.
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

It is possible to create change and manifest positivity in your life! x

Therapy Sessions | The Relationship in Therapy.

Therapy Sessions | The Relationship in Therapy.
*Trigger Warning: there may be distressing content.*

Let’s begin The Session.

In this particular session, I was expressing my concerns about a huge life-change that occurred. I told N* that part of me wanted to halt my study plans. I was overwhelmed and anxious about how the year would pan out. 

She said half-urgently that she had to stop me right there. I was curious. What did she think?

“When you’re sitting in that chair, in this room, I fight for you.”

I was shocked. After a few moments I concluded that this statement spoke to me in a way that nothing has spoken to me before. In all sense of the word, I felt completely supported. I felt heard. I felt cared for. It was like a weight I’d been carrying immediately halved. I am not carrying this burden alone.

This is what being understood feels like as a client. This is what sessions are aimed to do. This is why I am studying in this field.

My psychologist went on to say that no one has to stop their life because of someone else’s mistakes. Time is needed to cope with big life-changes but that doesn’t mean to also give up on life goals.

By the end of this session, I felt lighter. I could breathe without as much labour and I didn’t feel like I might crumble at any second. There are good days and bad days yes, but I wasn’t a ticking-time-bomb anymore.

What I learned

1. Shit happens.

From this session, I learned to find motivation during the difficult times. Shit happens. Sometimes, frequently, surprisingly and without fault of our own. Of course, I’ve always known this. Part of starting this blog is to share my personal experiences of “shit happening”. Reminders are always handy though!

2. There are good and bad times when living in community with others.

Living in community, big or small, we may find ourselves affected by another person’s actions – both positively and negatively. It is up to us to fight tooth-and-nail through the brick walls and get back to the light. To do our best, with what we have in those moments.

3. Speak up.

Like a fellow blogger @sickocean wrote about, speak up. Both in situations where you need to stand up for yourself but also in situations where you feel heavily burdened by life’s issues. Open up to people or a person you trust. Yes, we are all different beings with different life-stories and therefore, may not respond in the way another would ‘want’, but, expressing ourselves is still massively helpful and beneficial for our mental health.

Even if speaking to a professional isn’t in the cards right now, remember to FIGHT FOR YOU.

Even through the pain.

Even through the darkness.

Fight for you.

Live the life you deserve.

Make choices freely without guilt.

Put yourself first this time.

Welcome back to my regular readers and thank you for joining me if you are new! This blog is about mental-health wellness as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, food, decluttering and travel adventures.
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

Thank you for being here.
Let’s keep working towards mental-health awareness and wellbeing. x

10 Tips for Meditation

10 Tips for Meditation

Today, I am going to share some tips with you on practicing meditation. I used to worry all the time about having the ‘perfect’ environment before I started using mindfulness techniques. I’ve learned over the last few years that mindfulness can be just as powerful in my car than it is in the comfort of my own home on my yoga mat. Continue reading “10 Tips for Meditation”

Malaysia | Bohey Dulang Island

Malaysia | Bohey Dulang Island

When we arrived, we walked down a jetty over beautiful, crystal-clear water. You could see the bottom of the sea bed. Other small islands that were nearby, looked like mounds of broccoli. I’m not kidding. The trees were so vibrantly green!

Cases of stairs started off this short hike. Within two minutes, I realised the mistake I’d made. Steep inclines are no joke! There were several times I thought of turning back, but something kept telling me not to give up. I was also walking with my boyfriend, so I wanted to reach the top as a team. It would be an experience (good or bad or both) that we would endure together. Continue reading “Malaysia | Bohey Dulang Island”